What Can We Do? Three Practical Recommendations For Helping With Ukrainian Relief Efforts
When bad times hit, good people show up.
So it should come as no surprise that over the past three weeks, ALAN has heard from numerous people who all have the same burning question: What’s the best way to help the millions of Ukrainians who have been displaced by war in their country?
In terms of our industry, ALAN has one concrete answer already, because last week we posted the first of what we believe will eventually be many requests for logistics assistance for Ukrainian outreach efforts.
Just as important, we have three broad pieces of advice that apply to almost everyone. We hope you will keep them in mind as this heart-breaking story continues to unfold.
First, please give money instead of supplies to support Ukrainian relief efforts – unless those supplies have been directly requested by a reputable humanitarian organization. Financial donations allow relief organizations to procure the items that refugees actually need most (rather than those that we THINK they need) – and to purchase the types of food, hydration and other items that will be more familiar and palatable to them. They also enable these organizations to procure items closer to the point of aid rather than having to wait for donated items to be transported all the way across the world.
Second, be intentional about where you’re sending your monetary gifts. Some non-profits are better positioned to deliver assistance right now because they have a long history of providing international relief or they have well- established operations in that part of the world. As a result, your donations are likely to go farther and do more good if they’re channeled in that direction, at least during these early days. A good place to find such non-profits is on one of the lists supplied by USAID and the US Chamber of Commerce. ALAN is also tracking the relief initiatives being undertaken by our many non-profit partners, and you can access that information here.
Third, please be just as ready to help later as you are right now. At the moment, we’re hearing that there are many aid shipments that are arriving without any plan for distribution, and that there’s so much aid flowing into the area that warehouses are overcrowded. But that won’t always be the case. So even though you may have a strong desire to provide support in any form or fashion right now, bear in mind that your help will also be needed farther down the line. (And if you’re willing to provide that assistance at a later time, remember that you can always pre-offer your services to ALAN by filling out a quick, short form on our website.)
No doubt these are difficult times for Ukraine and the world. But as one wise person once said, “Even in the midst of darkness, there is always a shard of light if we will but search for it hard enough and believe in it strongly enough.”
On behalf of all of us at ALAN, thank you for serving as that shard of light for us. We are truly inspired by your outpouring of compassion and thankful to be working hand-in-hand with you to deliver peace, love and comfort during these challenging days.
American Logistics Aid Network